Short sea shipping

As part of our mandate to enable the safe and efficient movement of goods through the Port of Vancouver, we are taking steps to increase the sustainable movement of cargo in port waters.

We have been working closely with industry to develop a short sea shipping concept at the Port of Vancouver. This would involve moving cargo on barges over relatively short distances within port waters and between deep-sea terminals and regional cargo handling facilities.

Economic and environmental benefits

As seen in other North American regions, short sea shipping could provide opportunities to increase efficiency and reduce the environmental impacts of cargo movements in the region. Short sea shipping can be a cost-effective alternative for moving containers and other types of goods between deep-sea terminals and inland transload facilities where cargo is transferred from one mode of transport to another (e.g. from a shipping container to a truck).

Currently at the Port of Vancouver, non-bulk cargo and containers are mainly moved by truck to and from port terminals and regional cargo handling facilities. Short sea shipping would complement the use of trucks and provide a way for cargo to be moved on barges along waterways in and around the port.

Benefits of this form of cargo movement include:

Increasing regional cargo movement capacity and efficiency Spurring local economic development opportunities and increasing gateway resilience Enabling efficient use of existing and planned marine terminal infrastructure through reducing the need for on-site storage Helping to decrease greenhouse gas emissions related to cargo movement

Short sea shipping initiatives at the Port of Vancouver

Advancing the development of a short sea shipping terminal

Building on engagement to date, we are collaborating with DP World, who is advising the port authority on an operating model and conceptual design for a short sea terminal located on port land in Richmond at the foot of No.8 Road. More information about this work is available in our latest update to industry.

Completing a short sea shipping study

As we develop a conceptual design for a short sea shipping terminal, we are also studying the conditions needed for a viable short sea shipping service in the Vancouver gateway. This work with industry stakeholders, Indigenous groups and municipalities will help us understand how short sea shipping could contribute to local supply chain efficiency and resiliency.

The study includes:

  • Exploring an operating model and potential locations for this service
  • Identifying the types of goods that could be moved
  • Identifying the infrastructure and equipment required

This work is supported by federal funding received in 2019 from Transport Canada through the National Trade Corridors.

How to get involved

We will continue to engage with industry, Indigenous groups, local governments and the broader transportation and logistics community throughout the development of short sea shipping at the Port of Vancouver.

If you have any questions, please email us.